49ers vs. Rams live blog

SANTA CLARA — This is the live blog for the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 1 Monday Night game against the Los Angeles Rams. I will update this frequently with information and analysis from the press box.

4:24 The 49ers announced they have waived running back DuJuan Harris and promoted wide receiver Chris Harper from the practice squad to the active roster. Strange move, considering Harper won’t be active on game days.

5:09 The Rams list only one linebacker among the starters on their depth chart — MLB Alec Ogletree. The Rams list Mark Barron as a “WS” which, I assume, stands for “Weak Safety.”

5:55 Anthony Davis is active. Here are the players who aren’t:

  1. G Joshua Garnett (rookie first-round pick).
  2. QB Christian Ponder.
  3. CB Keith Reaser.
  4. CB Chris Davis.
  5. OT John Theus.
  6. DT Glenn Dorsey.
  7. DT Taylor Hart.

5:57 It seems the starting OL will look like this:

LT: Joe Staley
LG: Zane Beadles
C: Daniel Kilgore
RG: Andrew Tiller
RT: Trent Brown

…and the starting DL will look like this:

LDE: Arik Armstead
NT: Mike Purcell
RDE: Quinton Dial

5:58 It also seems like Jimmie Ward will cover the slot receiver when the Rams use three-receivers sets. Rashard Robinson probably will be the third corner.

6:12 Here are the Rams’ inactives:

  1. QB Jared Goff.
  2. WR Pharoah Cooper.
  3. CB E.J. Gaines.
  4. CB Steve Williams.
  5. OT Pace Murphy.
  6. WR Nelson Spruce.
  7. DE Matt Longacre.

6:18 All six Niners’ wide receivers are active. How could this offense possibly need six wide receivers?

6:22 Chris Harper appears to be the backup punt returner, which probably explains his presence on the roster.

6:35 I imagine Jimmie Ward will cover Tavon Austin all night no matter where he lines up.

6:45 I will predict the final score at 7:00. Make sure you post your prediction before then.

7:00 FINAL PREDICTION: 49ers 13, Rams 16.

7:16 Eric Reid and the backup quarterback knelt during the National Anthem. Antoine Bethea and Eli Harold stood with raised fists. Quinton Dial stood and held the flag with the rest of the servicemen and women.

7:18 The Rams win the toss and choose to receive the opening kickoff.

7:26. Rams drive to midfield and punt. DeForest Buckner is starting in the base defense ahead of Arik Armstead, who’s playing on passing downs with Ronald Blair.

7:31 Blaine Gabbert completes a zero-yard pass to Quinton Patton on third-and-2 from the Niners’ 38 and they punt.  Never change, Blaine.

7:36 Ahmad Brooks loops to the inside on third-and-9 from the Rams 10 and sacks Case Keenum for a six-yard loss. Niners’ ball at their 48 after a 54-yard punt.

7:44 Carlos Hyde scores an 11-yard touchdown on a counter run to the left from the shotgun. Rams seemed surprised by that play. 7-0 Niners. Gabbert scrambled for two first downs during that drive, and Shaun Draughn caught a seven-yard pass on third-and-6.

7:50 Tramaine Brock breaks up a short pass intended for tight end Tyler Higbee on third-and-4, and the Rams go three-and-out.

7:54 Andrew Tiller is injured after an 18-yard run by Hyde. Marcus Martin takes his place.

7:56 Draughn gains six yards on a Counter run to the left just before the first quarter ends.

7:58 Niners rushed for 70 yards in the first quarter.

7:59 Gabbert throws a low pass to Torrey Smith for a two-yard loss on fourth-and-1.

8:07 Quinton Dial tips Keenum’s pass and NaVorro Bowman picks it off at the Niners’ 41. The Rams would be better off handing the ball to Gurley every single play.

8:10 The previous play is under review. Bowman may have bobbled the ball.

8:11 Call is confirmed.

8:16 Draughn runs around the outside for a three-yard touchdown on first-and-goal. Gabbert converted a fourth-and-6 a few plays earlier with a nice pass to Jeremy Kerley. 14-0 Niners.

8:17 Niners have a 107 rushing yards with 8:16 left in the first half. Game over. Rams did not come prepared.

8:19 Hyde took himself out of the game after getting blasted on first-and-10 from the Rams’ 21.

8:23 Jimmie Ward breaks up a pass intended for Tavon Austin on third-and-5 and the Rams punt.

8:25 Hyde is back.

8:30 Gabbert checks down to Draughn, who makes a couple moves and fumbles. Rams recover at their 39 with 3:17 left.

8:34 Keenum throws incomplete on third-and-8 and the Rams go three-and-out. Keenum is awful. Hard to believe he’s better than Jared Goff.

8:39 Niners go three-and-out after Gabbert throws a perfect pass to Rams defensive back LaMarcus Joyner who drops the easy interception. Rams’ ball at their 39 with 1:07 left.

8:42 Arik Armstead sacks Keenum on third-and-15 and the Rams go three-and-out. Their offensive coordinator is clueless. I’ll explain why at halftime.

8:43 Halftime.

8:44 Excellent run-blocking by the entire 49ers offense, not just the offensive line. Quinton Patton and Jeremy Kerley stood out among the wide receivers.

8:45 Excellent lateral pursuit by the 49ers defense. Terrible offensive design by Rams novice offensive coordinator Rob Boras, who has done nothing to get the Niners’ defense to back off. He hasn’t challenged the Niners’ secondary with any deep throws, and he’s using a vanilla two-back offense that provides no space for Gurley to run. Boras needs to spread out the Niners so Gurley doesn’t always have to run into a phone booth.

8:59 Gabbert catches his own deflected pass and loses 16 yards on third-and-4. Niners go three-and-out. Austin returns the punt to the Rams’ 41.

9:04 Rams go three-and-out after two Gurley runs into a phone booth and a short completion on third down. The Rams’ OC doesn’t get the concept of stretching the field vertically or horizontally.

9:08 Gabbert throws behind Kerley on third-and-8 and the Niners go three-and-out.

9:13 Ward knocks down Keenum’s pass on third-and-5 and the Rams go three-and-out. Hard to believe Keenum is still in the game, not to mention the league.

9:17 Gabbert completes a pass to Kerley for a loss of two on third-and-10, and the Niners go three-and-out. They should just take a knee every play.

9:23 Rams give the ball back four plays later. They gave the ball to Gurley in a spread one-back formation on first down and he gained 10 yards. Then they gave him the ball in a condensed two-back formation and he gained two yards. Terrible coaching.

9:27 Gabbert throws wide of an open Torrey Smith on third-and-8 and the Niners go three-and-out again. Austin returns the punt to the 49ers’ 38.

9:31 Keenum throws a pass directly to Ray Ray Armstrong. Interception. Rams were close to the red zone.

9:34 Gabbert completes a 13-yard pass to Patton on third-and-8 just before the end of the third quarter.

9:43 Gabbert throws a touchdown pass to Vance McDonald on third-and-goal from the 8. 21-0 Niners.

9:51 Keenum goes three-and-out again. The Rams should have benched him at halftime. A drunk Johnny Manziel would have played better.

10:00 Aaron Donald just got ejected for making contact with an official. Sore loser. This team is a joke.

10:04 Hyde scores a one-yard touchdown run a few plays later. 28-0. The Niners had to win this game and they did. Good for them. Stay tuned for grades.

  1. The Rams will be expecting a heavy dose of Hyde. I think Chip will flip the script and go deep early. Torrey will no longer be a decoy. If they connect on a few deep balls early it will open up the middle for McDonald.

    1. That would be a great plan. Even if they don’t connect. We need to stretch the field when they go single high safety. Realistically, I expect Vance to be the key to the game…unless patton has a break-out….

  2. Since 2011, the Niners have won their opening game:
    2011 – Win versus Seahawks
    2012 -Win versus Greenbay
    2013 -Win versus Greenbay
    2014 – Win versus Cowboys
    2015 – Win versus Vikings (Yes, even Tomsula’s first game as an NFL head coach was a Win)
    2016 – ?

    So, my expectation based on the last 5 opening games, is a Win!
    Go Niners!

  3. I’m thinking they moved up Harper to protect him. Are other teams (Chargers) looking to add wide outs from other teams practice squads to cover in jury’s?

  4. Things I will be looking at:

    1. Can the defense get off the field.
    2. Red Zone production
    3. In game adjustments
    4. O-line
    5. Clock management – timeouts, red flag.

    1. I think the #1 thing to look for tonight for both the offense and defense is our offenses 3rd down conversion %. If 9ers sustain drives then defense rests. If 9ers hv a lot of 3 & outs the defense is challenged due to the No huddle speed offense. Not much time to rest for defense if No Huddle offense goes 3 & Out.

  5. Grant is on the record as agreeing with Trent Baalke and Trent Dilfer about Kap’s actions being divisive. This trio is alone in this assessment. Grant and the 2 Trents. Wondrous.

    And Chris Harper is active. Please, Grant, predict a loss.

      1. Lowell is a man amongst boys, so that’s certainly a huge validation, but Sakamoto? Who’s that? Isn’t there a cheerleader called Sakamoto who wears a BEAST hat wherever he goes?

  6. If you’re going to trade up into the first round for a guard shouldn’t it be for one that is better then Zane Beadles.

    1. No kidding. I think it’s huge news a #1 o-lineman can’t even work his way to being Active on Game Day. That’s not a good sign. They traded up to the 1st round to draft a starter.

    2. Garnett missed most of the off season Coffee, so I think it has more to do with needing to get up to speed.

      1. Guard has probably the lowest learning curve of any position on the team. He’s not dummy either so it isn’t because he’s still learning the plays. He had all of the pre-season in which he played in as well. No one is calling him a bust but if he isn’t active by week 2 or 3 at the latest then those calls might change.

        1. I imagine the reason he is inactive and Martin is active purely comes down to versatility. Martin is the backup centre and can play OG. Garnett is just an OG.

          If one of the starting OGs is out and Martin gets the nod ahead of Garnett, that would be a bit worrying. But only a bit, for now. I have no qualms letting rookies sit a bit.

          1. I have qualms about letting a rookie lineman that we traded up for sit, especially a guard. As I said, as long as he’s active in the next week or so then it’s not too big of a deal. He did miss some time early in training camp so to miss the first game or two isn’t the end of the world. If he’s still inactive by or after week 3 then my qualms will be intensifying.

            1. Even if the OL is playing well without him? If he isn’t starting, he’ll continue to be inactive due to his lack of versatility.

              1. Well, he only has to be better then Beadles and if he can’t do that by the third week then I’m not sure he was worth trading up for.

    3. He’s better -just needs a bit more time because of the late camp start. Further trading up to the first round gives us a fifth year option on him to which if we waited and took him in the second he would’ve been a FA in four.Also the Seahawks would’ve gotten him so it’s worth it to me if just the Hawks don’t have him–with that crappy line Russell Wilson I’ll be dead before week six

  7. “6:18 All six Niners’ wide receivers are active. How could this offense possibly need six wide receivers?”

    Guess we will find out in about an hour. Good question for sure.

  8. At long last the season is here gents I suspect this season will be at the very least more promising than the last . Looking forward to sharing the good and bad with you Faithfully Hightop

    1. Kerly may turn out to be what we’ve been waiting Ellington to become the last 2 years – a quick slot WR with reliable hands, speed and football smarts. He looks like a lock as a special teams returner as well.
      Not bad for a player we signed a week before the start of the season.

  9. While all you Kaep Lovers keep putting down Gabbert – one thing for sure dude is tough and dudes first step when he is running this is way better than Kaeps

    1. Bandit, it’s not people loving on Kaep and hating on BG. He’s missed some really easy throws and made some good run plays. Way better is a stretch since we haven’t seen CK in this offense.

    1. He seems to have command of the offense and good vision as Steve Young said. But the misses are infuriating. Still he’s playing tough, but we need more.

  10. There are few things better than shutting down the LA Rams on Opening Day.

    Gotta tip the cap to Gabbert for being a gamer, but Hyde and the front lines are stealing this show right now. Niners D playing like crazed dogs – not thinking, just pursuing and hitting. Go Niners!

  11. Gabbert gets a few wins under his belt and his accuracy will get way better. I really admire his hard work and at worst he’s a good game manager. And Kelly may very well be the second best coach in the NFL.

    1. My goodness Gabbert looks awful. Missing receivers badly or throwing on the wrong timing. 9ers move the ball when he ran not when he passed. He was 12-18 for 80 yards at half. That is not good.

  12. I dont have ESPN, so cant watch the game. Just tracking it on nfl.com . My question is, have the rams started to play closer to the line of scrimmage yet?

  13. Strange choice for a MNF game on opening weekend…. Hardly riveting entertainment, but I’ll take a win over this lot any day….

  14. Frustrating not seeing one deep pass attempt to stretch the defense a bit… Feels like Gabbert and the offense have returned to reality.

    1. ?? eMJ, the Rams have picked up their play but he’s not been sacked or even pressured to this point. Not much of an agenda in him making bad throws. It’s hurt the run game for sure.

    1. Prime, It is interesting to see you go from hating Kaep and wanting him cut, to now chanting for him.

      Niners went from timid, predictable and ineffective in the third to dominating the 4th.

      Prime, I am just keeping it real. Niners could improve. Gabbert did not throw well for the first 3 quarters. He used his legs to gain those third down conversions, which helped keep drives alive.

      I am happy that they won, but playing Carolina will be another story. They will come out with fire in their eyes after losing to Denver.

      1. 3rd quarter had a lot to do with the play calling. Run, run, 3rd and long pass… That said the misses in the first two quarters were on Blaine. He left about 2 tds out there.

  15. Pass protection has been really good tonight. Run blocking not so much but this dline is very good.
    Overall they did a good job.
    Blaine was erratic most of the night…but hopefully with confidence will improve to become a game manager.
    D well it’s tough to know how good they are because of how bad the Rams o was but still it was an impressive performance.

  16. Wow stay classy Donald! Looked like a confused angry pissed off clubber Lang from rocky Iii! Good to see us stay disciplined! Give the rock to Hyde!

    1. Yep. Grabbed at the back neck of Patton, then knocked off his helmet, and made contact with an official. Finally, proceeded to slam his helmet to the turf like a temperamental child after he was ejected.

  17. The only thing off about the Niners tonight is about a half a dozen of you turd gobblers. This is been a fun game to watch yeah BG has had some trouble but give him some time give him some success and he’ll be fine. In the meantime a few of you can go back to your boring low paying jobs and gripe at everybody.

    1. I love the last line Ghost! I’ve noticed most of the trolls have been absent tonight. Let those crybabies find another team for all I care. Hopefully will get a week on this blog without listening to all the negative nannies that know nothing about building a football team.

      Hint: it all starts in the trenches!

  18. A great defensive effort was the key to that win.

    But, before we all get too carried away, two things:

    1. The Rams offense was putrid. Part of that was because the D played well, but part is also because the Rams offense is just putrid.
    2. Remember the 49ers won 20 – 3 over the Vikings in Week 1 last season. The win is a good start, but we need to see the team play a few games before we will really get a feel for where they are at.

    1. I agree Scooter. Also Gabbert looked absolutely terrible for about 2 quarters. Some of those throws had me callin’ for Kaepernick. They gelled more towards the end. A few good takeaways though, O-line is the real deal and so is Hyde.

      1. Well, I think the biggest positive takeaway was the play of the D. I mean really, there was nothing about how they played you can point to and say ‘that wasn’t good’. Excellent team D – held up at the point of attack, stayed disciplined, swarmed to the ball, got pressure, kept pretty tight coverage. The only negative is they weren’t really challenged, but that’s not something the D can control. We’ll get a better feel for the D in the coming weeks.

        On O, the OL was good in pass protection, ok in the running game. I only give them an ok in the running game because a lot of the team’s best runs came when the RB bounced it outside after it was bottled up in the middle. Also got little going in that 3rd qtr. In saying that, there were some glorious moments in the running game, none more so than on Hyde’s TD run. That was blocking perfection.

        The other positives on offense for me were Kerley and Patton. Not only did both guys make plays in the passing game, but they were excellent blocking in the run game too.

        Gabbert was pretty bad. He had some decent moments here and there, and had stretches where he was pretty efficient. But I just can’t forgive his really poor WR screen passes and he missed a wide open Kerley down the middle which could have been a long TD. Also once again had trouble with passes getting batted down, which is becoming a bit of a thing for him. The main positive for Gabbert was he didn’t turn the ball over, and led the offense to a perfect 4 from 4 in the red zone.

      2. Gabbert threw the ball into the ground and almost had the ball picked off. He missed a sure TD and was not very accurate. Even when the players caught the ball, they had to reach low or behind to get it. Gabbert made a throw into 3 man coverage. That would get the anti Kaep people howling, but Gabbert gets a free pass.

        Gabbert did get more accurate towards the end, and did not turn the ball over, so he did OK. Hyde, Kerley and the whole defense were the stars of the game.

    2. I think an important point is that for the first game in a season there essentially is no film on the opposing team. That is especially true for the 49ers this year with a new coach. It’ll be interesting to see how Carolina game plans for the 9ers next Sunday and if Chip Kelly can adjust.

    3. Yeah, I’m not carried away because of that last season memory of the 2 different Niners teams that showed up in games 1 and 2. Offense (and by offense I mean Gabbert) is going to have to play a helluva lot better to have any chance these next few games.

  19. After watching tonight game, I’d like to hear the brilliant Wilsonm73 tell us how great the 49ers OL was last season, especially in pass protection?

    SMH Wilsonm73

    1. Now, now they were only bad for Kaep last year :).
      To be fair to Wilson it would depend on what your grading the oline at… they were terrible at run blocking last year but only slightly below average at pass pro per most rating services, about 18th if I remember correctly.

  20. I am happy. Glad that Gabbert started to throw the ball better towards the end, but Gabbert was not very accurate. Niner defense played Niner Football.

    Chip had the team prepared and focused, They eliminated the unforced errors, and actually made the Rams lose their composure.

    Glad Chip went bold, but he needs to have that killer instinct. They could have let the Rams back in the game during the third quarter, but the defense saved the day. I am happy they won, but they could have played better.

    Before the game, I said that I hoped the Niners would get up by 3 scores and Kaep would get mop up duty.

  21. Nice to get a win to open the season. It’s easy to not get too excited though when you remember that a year ago they played a very similar style game and it was all downhill from there.

    Good start, but the season begins for real in week 3.

    1. Carolina is a whole different kettle of fish. For the 49ers to have a chance, ball placement in the passing game has to be much better, and far less dropped balls.

      Panther receivers are far better, and if you don’t have perfect lane discipline in the pass rush Newton will run on us.

      One positive… the Panthers had a hard time vs the Seahawks hurry up in the playoffs last year. They were exhausted. If the 49ers can get a rhythm there’s a chance.

  22. Glad they got the win. The offense will have to play alot better on the road next week but if the O-line can keep giving Gabbert time to check all his weapons, then we will be more productive than I thought. It’s been way too long since we’ve been that productive in the RZ. –Not even with the Harbaugh team.

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